The Christian mainstream is growing at an unheard of pace. We now have Parables, a Christian movie channel. The description on the official site says: The first and only 24/7 Christian movie network available in the world today. And it’s in HD! Can 24/7 God compete with 24/7 movies on Showtime and HBO? And what Christian would be watching that many movies? Are there that many movies to show?
I figured the Christian entertainment business was in full swing, but I didn’t think they had enough movies to justify a movie network. Or is it the other way around? Create the venue and it will prompt more movies to be made?
This promo video is from YouTube but the promo on the website boasts a couple of big names like John Schneider, Randy Travis and Robert Duvall. There will be previews, made-for-Parables TV movies as well as theatrical and DVD releases, behind-the-scenes, and possibly movie hosts like they do with TCM. It’s an ambitious undertaking and will most likely succeed as there is a built-in audience and I would guess a ton of financial support (it’s sometimes hard to tell if a Christian venture is wanted by public demand because of the donations involved).
In regards to marketing, Parables has aligned itself with numerous churches regardless of denomination. You can check out the map and see who’s partnering based on your state. For example, Washington State has denominations including Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists and Casey Treat’s Christian Faith Center. I didn’t see any obvious Catholic churches involved, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sign on. So when Parables TV launches they get free word of mouth through either the pulpit or the Sunday announcements. In their ministry circle which builds their network of church affiliates they would also like churches to “Showcase Parables trailers during sermons to preview Parables stories to congregations.” In exchange, Parables TV will sponsor church events using media avenues such as local radio, provide free screenings of new movies and even showcase church-made short films on the network.
Religion is entering the entertainment age and is slowly becoming a commercial product. Now, religion itself has always been a product of sorts but not what it will be in the next couple of decades. It appears sacred art and worship will be replaced by new Christian celebrities, movie previews, posters and other hype. The current crop of Christian movies are mainly dramas or dramedies, but Sci-Fi movies are emerging, some Horror, and definitely some Fantasy with the Narnia series. Action movies are on the list, I’m sure, and animation is all over the market from 2D to 3D. I don’t want to accuse all of the filmmakers of propaganda (as I’m sure personal vision is involved here and there), but I have to say as a whole this is one hell of a propaganda machine to spread the gospel.
Imagine going to church and having to watch movie previews before the sermon starts. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. If you’ve ever visited Casey Treat’s Christian Faith Center (and I have done so several times) they have full screens on the stage with TV style graphics and musical scores. It is coming…